Harvest in Montalcino: A Life in Wine: Talking with Massimo Ricco, Il Poggione Agronomist

Harvest at Il Poggione

In visiting harvest of the Sangiovese for Rosso di Montalcino and Brunello di Montalcino at Il Poggione, we were able to speak with both Fabrizio Bindocci, the General Manager and Winemaker of Il Poggione, as well as the President of the Brunello Consortium. We were also able to speak with his son Alessandro Bindocci, winemaker at Il Poggione–he and his father work together.

Along with Francesca Bindocci (Alessandro’s sister, Fabrizio’s daughter) the Bindocci’s are part of a multi-generational family that has worked at Il Poggione since Fabrizio’s grandfather began in the farm and vineyards.

Fabrizio and Alessandro explained they are able to maintain hand’s on work of the large property (none of the vineyard work is mechanized) by keeping 75 full time employees, and working closely with two vineyard team leaders that survey the overall health of the property and work with the other agricultural employees.

We asked if we could also speak with one of the team leaders, Massimo Ricco. The following was translated from Italian by Alessandro.

It was quite a pleasure talking with Massimo, to hear more about his life and work, but also partially because he seemed surprised by our interest in him. He and Fabrizio laughed with each other off and on throughout the interview. Massimo was willing to give us time but also seemed eager to get back to work.

Harvest in Montalcino: Meeting Massimo Ricco

Massimo Ricco

Massimo Ricco, Agronomist and Manager, Il Poggione

“I have been in the vines at Il Poggione for 2 years and 4 months. I was working for other properties, consulting for other properties in different regions before coming here. In Tuscany, and also in Umbria.

“I am a manager of the other vineyard workers. I am an agronomist. I check the vineyards, the health and state of the vineyard. When it is not harvest, I organize different work for the cultivation of the vines and olive trees. I like this sort of work but in the winter there is not enough work to do. I like healthy vineyards and making good looking fruit. It is the best satisfaction.

“I was born in Latina, near Rome, and grew up in Perugia. My wife also lives and works here. She works in the vineyard.”

Fabrizio nods and smiles saying, “Yes, they were a double purchase.”

Massimo nods and laughs. I ask him what work his parents do. “My father is a worker in chemical industries. My mother is a housewife.”

I ask how Massimo came to Il Poggione. Fabrizio laughs, “I found Massimo on my crystal ball. I was looking for a professional level collaborator. So I made many phone calls and Massimo came up. He was consulting for other wineries in Tuscany and Umbria at the same time.”

Massimo nods. I ask him how he likes working for one vineyard now instead of many in two regions. “I like working with one vineyard instead of many very much. There are less kilometers on the car.” He laughs. “The difference working one vineyard is positive. The advantage of a single property is to be there and follow the whole production life of the vine.

“The foundation of the work I got from the agricultural university in Perugia. For 3 years after, I worked for a company that built wineries. Then, I began consulting on vineyards and olive trees.

“The growing of the olive trees is quite simple compared to the vineyard. The trees demand less time. The most important thing for the olive trees is the pruning.”

harvesting Sangiovese

In Tuscany many properties inter-plant alternating rows of olive trees and grape vines. The temperatures are warm enough to ripen olives in the region so most properties have both plants. Il Poggione has one vineyard block with alternating rows, and other areas of the property where the plants grow on their own. Alessandro explained that in a bad frost one winter the trees in the inter-planted vineyard were the only to survive. Il Poggione produces, and bottles its own olive oil.

***

Thank you to Massimo Ricco. Thank you to Fabrizio, and Alessandro Bindocci.

Thank you to Megan Murphy. Thank you to Cathy Huyghe.

Copyright 2013 all rights reserved. When sharing or forwarding, please attribute to WakawakaWineReviews.com

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